Iran’s relationship with the Internet is just as ugly and delusional as the worst relationship you see derailing on Facebook. That’s what happens when you’ve got a repressive government that doesn’t understand these things. And now they’re banning WhatsApp for the silliest reason possible.
Specifically, according to Haaretz, because Mark Zuckerberg grew up Jewish. Really.
The ban seems to have triggered an open dispute with the government, which has been attempting to implement moderate social policies. “The government is completely against the ban on WhatsApp,” Communications Minister Mahmoud Mehr told the state news agency IRNA. The ban was announced by the secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, who was quoted as saying that “the reason for this is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist.”
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an idle government dispute, either. Large chunks of the government have flatly said the idea, not to mention the justification for it, is absolutely ridiculous.
Needless to say, like any repressive regime, there’s what Iran is saying and what they really mean. In this case, the country is trying to enforce its hilariously futile bans of Facebook and Twitter after social media helped Iranians organize protests against a ridiculously rigged election. Most Iranians know how a VPN works, so that’s been about as effective as you’d think.
Also, Zuckerberg is an atheist, as that one guy on Twitter will never get tired of telling you, so their stated motives don’t even make any sense. But, hey, why be honest when you could come off terribly to the rest of the world, right?